Divalproex Sodium

DIVALPROEX SODIUM- divalproex sodium tablet, delayed release
American Health Packaging

WARNING: LIFE THREATENING ADVERSE REACTIONS

Hepatotoxicity
General Population: Hepatic failure resulting in fatalities has occurred in patients receiving valproate and its derivatives. These incidents usually have occurred during the first six months of treatment. Serious or fatal hepatotoxicity may be preceded by non-specific symptoms such as malaise, weakness, lethargy, facial edema, anorexia, and vomiting. In patients with epilepsy, a loss of seizure control may also occur. Patients should be monitored closely for appearance of these symptoms. Serum liver tests should be performed prior to therapy and at frequent intervals thereafter, especially during the first six months [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].

Children under the age of two years are at a considerably increased risk of developing fatal hepatotoxicity, especially those on multiple anticonvulsants, those with congenital metabolic disorders, those with severe seizure disorders accompanied by mental retardation, and those with organic brain disease. When divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets are used in this patient group, it should be used with extreme caution and as a sole agent. The benefits of therapy should be weighed against the risks. The incidence of fatal hepatotoxicity decreases considerably in progressively older patient groups.

Patients with Mitochondrial Disease: There is an increased risk of valproate-induced acute liver failure and resultant deaths in patients with hereditary neurometabolic syndromes caused by DNA mutations of the mitochondrial DNA Polymerase γ (POLG) gene (e.g., Alpers Huttenlocher Syndrome). Divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets are contraindicated in patients known to have mitochondrial disorders caused by POLG mutations and children under two years of age who are clinically suspected of having a mitochondrial disorder [see Contraindications (4)]. In patients over two years of age who are clinically suspected of having a hereditary mitochondrial disease, divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets should only be used after other anticonvulsants have failed. This older group of patients should be closely monitored during treatment with divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets for the development of acute liver injury with regular clinical assessments and serum liver testing. POLG mutation screening should be performed in accordance with current clinical practice [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].

Fetal Risk
Valproate can cause major congenital malformations, particularly neural tube defects (e.g., spina bifida). In addition, valproate can cause decreased IQ scores following in utero exposure.

Valproate is therefore contraindicated in pregnant women treated for prophylaxis of migraine [see Contraindications (4)]. Valproate should only be used to treat pregnant women with epilepsy or bipolar disorder if other medications have failed to control their symptoms or are otherwise unacceptable.

Valproate should not be administered to a woman of childbearing potential unless the drug is essential to the management of her medical condition. This is especially important when valproate use is considered for a condition not usually associated with permanent injury or death (e.g., migraine). Women should use effective contraception while using valproate [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2, 5.3,5.4)].

A Medication Guide describing the risks of valproate is available for patients [see Patient Counseling Information (17)].

Pancreatitis
Cases of life-threatening pancreatitis have been reported in both children and adults receiving valproate. Some of the cases have been described as hemorrhagic with a rapid progression from initial symptoms to death. Cases have been reported shortly after initial use as well as after several years of use. Patients and guardians should be warned that abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and/or anorexia can be symptoms of pancreatitis that require prompt medical evaluation. If pancreatitis is diagnosed, valproate should ordinarily be discontinued. Alternative treatment for the underlying medical condition should be initiated as clinically indicated [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)].

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

1.1 Mania

Divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets are a valproate and are indicated for the treatment of the manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder. A manic episode is a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood. Typical symptoms of mania include pressure of speech, motor hyperactivity, reduced need for sleep, flight of ideas, grandiosity, poor judgment, aggressiveness, and possible hostility.

The efficacy of divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets was established in 3-week trials with patients meeting DSM-III-R criteria for bipolar disorder who were hospitalized for acute mania [see Clinical Studies (14.1)].

The safety and effectiveness of divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets for long-term use in mania, i.e., more than 3 weeks, has not been demonstrated in controlled clinical trials. Therefore, healthcare providers who elect to use divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets for extended periods should continually reevaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.

1.2 Epilepsy

Divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets are indicated as monotherapy and adjunctive therapy in the treatment of patients with complex partial seizures that occur either in isolation or in association with other types of seizures. Divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets are also indicated for use as sole and adjunctive therapy in the treatment of simple and complex absence seizures, and adjunctively in patients with multiple seizure types that include absence seizures.

Simple absence is defined as very brief clouding of the sensorium or loss of consciousness accompanied by certain generalized epileptic discharges without other detectable clinical signs. Complex absence is the term used when other signs are also present.

1.3 Migraine

Divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets are indicated for prophylaxis of migraine headaches. There is no evidence that divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets are useful in the acute treatment of migraine headaches.

1.4 Important Limitations

Because of the risk to the fetus of decreased IQ, neural tube defects, and other major congenital malformations, which may occur very early in pregnancy, valproate should not be administered to a woman of childbearing potential unless the drug is essential to the management of her medical condition [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2, 5.3, 5.4), Use in Specific Populations (8.1), and Patient Counseling Information (17)].

Divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets are contraindicated for prophylaxis of migraine headaches in women who are pregnant.

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

Divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets are intended for oral administration. Divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets should be swallowed whole and should not be crushed or chewed.

Patients should be informed to take divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets every day as prescribed. If a dose is missed it should be taken as soon as possible, unless it is almost time for the next dose. If a dose is skipped, the patient should not double the next dose.

2.1 Mania

Divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets are administered orally. The recommended initial dose is 750 mg daily in divided doses. The dose should be increased as rapidly as possible to achieve the lowest therapeutic dose which produces the desired clinical effect or the desired range of plasma concentrations. In placebo-controlled clinical trials of acute mania, patients were dosed to a clinical response with a trough plasma concentration between 50 and 125 mcg/mL. Maximum concentrations were generally achieved within 14 days. The maximum recommended dosage is 60 mg/kg/day.

There is no body of evidence available from controlled trials to guide a clinician in the longer term management of a patient who improves during divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets treatment of an acute manic episode. While it is generally agreed that pharmacological treatment beyond an acute response in mania is desirable, both for maintenance of the initial response and for prevention of new manic episodes, there are no data to support the benefits of divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets in such longer-term treatment. Although there are no efficacy data that specifically address longer-term antimanic treatment with divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets, the safety of divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets in long-term use is supported by data from record reviews involving approximately 360 patients treated with divalproex sodium delayed-release tablets for greater than 3 months.

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